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7823RE: [textualcriticism] Frequency of variants for different NT books

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  • Steven Avery
    May 6, 2013

      David, we basically largely the same points in two overlapping posts. Note the seven problems in the previous post in trying to pin down the general question of variant statistics.   I left those on the bottom of this post.

      (If anybody wants to improve those categories, please do so, I think that question has been under-whelmingly studied in the past.)

      David Inglis
      Steven, thanks for the reply, but I don�t think the links are going to be much help with what I�m trying to do. In particular, any site that is not looking at mss, but instead at what people have selected as �their� preferred variants (which is what the CT/MT/RT do) is going to miss a lot of detail.

      This is definitely the case, but that still remains a good starting point.  And should give representative proportions, book-by-book, which was a major part of your original request.  Remember, you were surprised the abundance of Matthew on one Wiki site, but that looks like simply the aberration of working with a partial study.

      David Inglis
      Also, unless the site gives me details at the ms level, instead of editions, then it�s not going to help. For example, Gary�s site (and other similar ones) don�t mention Lk 22:17-20,

      Luke 22:17-20 (AV)
      And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

      Steven Avery
      The Western non-interpolations, from Bezae and Latin western evidences, will always be a bit of a fly in the ointment (as will Bezae in Acts as I mentioned).  Note though, that a Critical Text comparison that uses Westcott-Hort might not miss this one, depending on how they interpret the W-H double brackets. And if the comparison works with earlier CT editions before NA-26 then they will be covered well.

      Note also, though that three are a total of less than 10 of these western omissions that were seriously considered even by Hort.

      David Inglis
      because the MT variant is used in almost all Greek editions, and I really need to take all the versions into account as well, so I need to look at mss.

      And I think what you are really saying is you want to look at Codex Bezae as == in significance to Vaticanus and Bezae.  Historically afaik that has three aspects.

      1) Hortian fascination with western non-interpolations

      2) Western text aficionados like Francis Crawford Burkitt & William Lawrence Petersen

      3) Ehrmanesque (along with Daniel Wallace) continued Bezae fascination -- manifested on selected variants like Mark 1:41 

      When you ask about going to the ms level you surely are not asking to look at all cursives, and probably not even all uncials?  You simply are following the modern lead of considering Bezae differences as especially significant.

      We should remember that three manuscripts Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Bezae, are of special significance in the theories of modern textual criticism. The question of whether you want your study to follow that lead should not be ignored, since it has a lot to do with any purported objectivity in approach.  (You could expand the three to the "five great uncials" or "five old uncials" (Burgon) and include Alexandrinus and Ephraemi, the basic question would remain.)

      David Inglis
       I think my ideal would be all non-accidental translatable variants in all mss,

      Again, I doubt that you really mean "all mss", not when the apparatus does its best to ignore variants that are principally in the Byzantine tradition yet are not present significantly in the Alexandrian tradition.

      David Inglis
      but I suspect I�ll have to create such a list myself. I�ll probably start with Wieland Willker, as I always find him very useful

      And I am curious what you plan to add to the existing lists other than :

      a) lesser variants that are visible on LaParola or another apparatus, especially if there are multiple variants in a verse
      b) Codex Bezae "Western" specialties

      Steven Avery



      1) multiple variants in a verse - poorly covered in most counts

      2) "significant" variants has no fixed definition (translatable is a higher number, less subjective)

      3) source material extensiveness varies - all major editions, all major manuscripts, all known manuscript differences, etc.

      4) counting of variants varies, especially in inclusion/omission

      5) punctuation differences are handled variously

      6) source material obscurity
      "Sometimes writing is hard or impossible to read. Also, a number of scribes and correctors may have been at work, making it difficult to discern who is responsible for what." - Tim Finney

      7) versional variants
      "Another class of uncertainty relates to translation from a version back to Greek so that all witnesses can be compared on the same footing; sometimes it is hard to tell which Greek text stands behind a translation of the same passage".- Tim Finney

      And since the apparatus is driven by the Greek manuscripts, it would be easy for versional variants to be ignored in any study.  Similar to (7) can be for ECW variants that do not have direct, significant Greek ms support.

      None of these should prevent a comparative book-by-book comparison of any system that is standardized between books (which DTL almost gave you in my earlier post). They all account for the difficulty of any statement about variants that does not give the methodology. 

      There are nuances, however, even in trying for a book-by-book comparison. e.g. if Codex Bezae is given a prominent spot of inclusion in the methodology similar to Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, that could radically change the variant situation in Acts.

      Steven Avery
      And I used this site for a little checking the other day, it uses two different measures, but is very helpful for comparing the Critical Text with the Received Text and Majority Text, which will give the great bulk of significant variants.

      Analytical-Literal Translation
      Textual Variants in the The New Testament
      Gary F. Zeolla

      500+ translatable variants in Mark
      300+ significant variants in Luke

      You could probably get a good picture by going through each chapter, and coming up with a general significant-->translatable ration.  What is good about this site is that it should give a fairly standard concept of "signficant" within its own numbers.  Significant can be in the eye of the beholder, and has no objective definition.

      And this post might give some help too.

      [textualcriticism] Re: TR vs CT variants
      Steven Avery March 25, 2008

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